For a sushi platter that really stands out, try your hand at Chef Devaux’s creative carrot butterfly and cucumber fan garnish. Elegant, yet so easy to create, these edible carrot butterflies are made using just a single piece of carrot and a few strategic cuts. Pair them with a verdant green cucumber fan garnish to create a decorative garden backdrop for your sushi and sashimi platters!
Carving the Butterfly
i) Position the carrot on your chopping board with one end facing upwards. Hold the top of the carrot firmly with your thumb on the under side, and fingers above. Align your knife on one side of the dark core at center of the carrot, then slice downwards. Discard the smaller piece.
To create the outline of the antenna, align your knife with the outermost part of the dark core, at the base. Swivel the knife roughly twenty degrees to the right, then make a second downward cut. Repeat the cut on the opposite side.
You should now have a shape that resembles half of a hexagon with a semi-circular top. Line up your knife with the two uppermost corners of the half hexagon, then slice downwards, removing the semi-circular top. This will form the top of the butterfly.
ii) Lay the carrot flat, with the wider of the flat surfaces facing upwards. Position your knife approximately 1.5cm in from the left hand side of the carrot, then make a small incision along its length, approximately 0.5cm deep.
Next, align your knife a few millimeters left of the initial incision at a 45-degree angle. Gently slice into the carrot flesh until the cut meets the base of the first incision. Repeat on the right hand side of the central incision to create a uniform ‘v’ shape that runs the length of the carrot.
With the blade of your paring knife, gently shave off a little of the flesh on either side of the ‘v’, starting from the outer edge. This will produce a curved aesthetic, making the wings appear more realistic.
iii) Flip the carrot over onto its narrowest side. With the larger knife, make a 45-degree, upward incision along the length of the carrot, using the base line as a guide. The cut should be no more than 0.5cm. Make a second incision a few millimeters up from the first, this time angling your knife downward so that both incisions meet to create a ‘v’.
iv) Return the carrot to an upright position on your chopping board. Holding one side firmly between your thumb and fingers, position your chopping knife a few millimeters in from the farthest edge. Slice down about 3/4 of the way (following the angle of the wing) leave approximately 0.25mm of the carrot intact at the bottom.
Flip the carrot upside down, so that it rests on its widest part. Position your knife a few millimeters in from the left-hand edge, then make a 1 centimeter incision.It should line up with the bottom of the incision you have just made.
v) Turn the carrot upright on your chopping board with the longer edge facing you. Use one hand to apply a little pressure to the piece to prevent it from slipping. Position your knife against the uppermost edge closest to you, just a few millimeters from the end. Gently slice forward and through, applying only mild pressure. Again, leave 0.25mm of intact flesh at the bottom. Make a second cut, identical to the first – this time slicing all the way through.
vi) Pick up the butterfly, holding the bottom firmly between your thumb and forefinger. Pull open the wings, then gently exert a little pressure to bend them downwards on either side. Finally, push up the antenna from the base at the front of the butterfly, bend forward and separate using your fingers.
Creating the Cucumber Fan
i) Trim down a length of cucumber to approximately 15cm, then cut it in half along its length. With a paring knife, begin making slices 1mm thick across the width of the cucumber – starting from the farthest edge. Each incision should be roughly 12cm in length.
ii) Lay the cucumber flat side down on your chopping board. Then, position your knife at one end at a 45-degree angle. Slice down through the flesh to the base and remove the excess.
iii) Hold the cucumber firmly with one hand, and use your fingers to fan out the sliced sections, pushing them down on the board as you do so. Apply a little pressure with your fingers, if necessary, to help them bend forward.
iv) Trim down the cucumber at the opposite end, slicing just a few millimeters from the incisions. Then, stand the cucumber upright and fan out the individual slices. To affix the butterfly, just sit it between slices.